A new study conducted by scientists from the University of California provides new insight into fat cell metabolism. The findings might help to understand certain conditions relating to diabetics and obese patients. The paper is published in the Nature Chemical Biology.
The results of the new study are relevant to fat cell metabolism pertaining to the nutrients involved during the synthesis of fatty acids.
Senior author Christian Metallo, a bioengineering professor, explains that deciphering fat cell metabolism down to the molecular level will enable the production of drug targets to treat diabetes and obesity.
The findings shed light on how the process of producing fat and energy unfolds in terms of the nutrients used. Precursors to fat cells known as pre-adipocytes consume glucose in preference to other nutrients to generate energy. However, once they turn to adipocytes (fat cells), they use glucose, branched-chain amino acids, as well as some essential amino acids. What is interesting is that a high level of branched-chain amino acids is linked with diabetes and obesity. Therefore, fat cells might be important in keeping these levels within certain norms.
The researchers yet have to point out how this metabolic pathway in fat cells undergoes irregularities in those suffering from diabetes and obesity. In-depth information of this type would hopefully help boost treatment techniques.
“We are curious about how different cells in our body, such as fat cells, consume and metabolize their surrounding nutrients. A better understanding of how these biochemical pathways are used by cells could help us find new approaches to treat diseases such as cancer or diabetes,” said Metallo.